Impacts of Kipepeo Conservation Project on Livelihoods and Climate Change Mitigations among Arabuko Sokoke Communities, Kilifi County, Kenya
Okeyo, Rodah Owako
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Conservation projects can improve the livelihoods of community members as well as tackle climate change. Kipepeo project is a butterfly farming project initiated in 1993 to provide a means of livelihood for the communities living around Arabuko Sokoke Forest and also to conserve the forest. The study was carried out to assess the impacts of Kipepeo conservation project on livelihoods of local community and on climate change mitigations in Arabuko Sokoke Forest in Kilifi County, Kenya. The specific objectives of the study were to evaluate the ongoing conservation activities related to the Kipepeo project, to establish the existing socio economic conditions in the project area, to assess the contribution of the Kipepeo project towards climate change mitigation and to assess the impacts of the project on the livelihoods of the local communities living around the Arabuko Sokoke Forest. A descriptive survey design was adopted in which 46 randomly selected respondents were drawn from 110 households participating in the Kipepeo project. Two key informant interviews with Kipepeo staff were also completed. A structured questionnaire was used to gather data on socio economic conditions of the Kipepeo project area as well as incomes obtained from participation in the Kipepeo project. Data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and presented in tables and charts. Results from the study showed that the Kipepeo project through rearing of butterflies has led to conservation activities among majority of the local community (70%) who practice tree planting which contributes to climate change mitigation. The study also showed that the income levels of the respondents had increased with 72% of them. earning between Ksh 6000-10000 per month compared to 4% earning same amount before joining the project implying a significant increase in income. (n=46, s=188.27). Results also show that there is a positive correlation between income from butterfly farming and contribution to school fees paid for respondents children. (p=0.539, n=35, r=0.109). Majority (100%) of the respondents were aware of the importance of conservation and felt that the ASF is very important and should be conserved. (X2=198.25, n=46, df=2, p=0.000). The study concluded that the Kipepeo project is incentive driven and helped to link livelihoods, conservation and climate change mitigation and recommends further research on other insect species that can be reared by communities to earn them income in order to improve their livelihoods while encouraging conservation.